Horse Girls

Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond

by Halimah Marcus

On Sale: 08/03/2021

Horse Girls

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Horse Girls

Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond

by Halimah Marcus

On Sale: 08/03/2021


About the Book

A compelling and provocative essay collection that smashes stereotypes and redefines the meaning of the term “horse girl,” broadening it for women of all cultural backgrounds.

As a child, horses consumed Halimah Marcus’ imagination. When she wasn’t around horses she was pretending to be one, cantering on two legs, hands poised to hold invisible reins. To her classmates, girls like Halimah were known as “horse girls,” weird and overzealous, absent from the social worlds of their peers. 

Decades later, when memes about “horse girl energy,” began appearing across social media—Halimah reluctantly recognized herself. The jokes imagine girls as blinkered as carriage ponies, oblivious to the mockery behind their backs. The stereotypical horse girl is also white, thin, rich, and straight, a daughter of privilege. Yet so many riders don’t fit this narrow, damaging ideal, and relate to horses in profound ways that include ambivalence and regret, as well as unbridled passion and devotion.

Featuring some of the most striking voices in contemporary literature—including Carmen Maria Machado, Pulitzer-prize winner Jane Smiley, T Kira Madden, Maggie Shipstead, and Courtney Maum—Horse Girls reframes the iconic bond between girls and horses with the complexity and nuance it deserves. And it showcases powerful emerging voices like Braudie Blais-Billie, on the connection between her Seminole and Quebecois heritage; Sarah Enelow-Snyder, on growing up as a Black barrel racer in central Texas; and Nur Nasreen Ibrahim, on the colonialist influence on horse culture in Pakistan.

By turns thought-provoking and personal, Horse Girls reclaims its titular stereotype to ask bold questions about autonomy and desire, privilege and ambition, identity and freedom, and the competing forces of domestication and wildness.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

"A stunning, bountiful collection that brims with feeling and insight, these essays lead us boldly through the intricacies of a longstanding cultural myth, taking wild turns that vividly exemplify the ineffable yet inextricable bond between human and animal. Set aside your preconceptions and let go of your stereotypes, because equine lover or not, Horse Girls will surely knock you off your feet." - Meredith Talusan, author of Fairest

"More than a fun romp through gorgeous prose by some of our finest contemporary writers, Horse Girls is a sublime exploration of the ways horses bring together the physical and the spiritual; the masculine and the feminine. Funny, earnest, sexy and unexpected, this is a book to read by flashlight and pass around to all your old friends." - Emma Copley Eisenberg, author of The Third Rainbow Girl

“A wild, rollicking ride into the heart of horse country—these essays get at what it means to love horses, in all that love's complexity.” - Anton DiSclafani, author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

“I loved this book and could relate to so many of the stories it contains. Horse Girls is a book for all, combating stereotypes and casting a shining light upon the incredible bond between human and beast.”
- Kareem Rosser, author of Crossing the Line

“[A] dynamic anthology . . . The essays are tender, critical, and deeply personal, and the universal themes of growth and belonging come through consistently but, refreshingly, never feel repetitive. Eminently thoughtful and fascinatingly intimate, this goes a long way toward shattering a stereotype.” - Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063009257
  • ISBN 10: 0063009250
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 08/03/2021
  • Pages: 304
  • List Price:21.00 CAD
  • BISAC2 : SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory

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